I like saying AYE and I especially like saying F*** AYE. I am 53, I work in construction as an operations manager with Balfour Beatty Kilpatrick. One of the things I love about my job is that I am constantly given opportunities to say AYE, from identifying potential, to developing them, to taking on the challenges of projects or dealing with the day to challenges of working for a large company. I have a long term plan to be able to play blues guitar whilst sitting in a rocking chair looking out on the Scottish Highlands in my dungarees before I move on. I am studying on and off for an Open University degree course in Philosophy and Psychological studies and write poetry.
Everything in my life has happened by chance, I met my soul mate by chance(incredibly when I asked her out she said AYE and we have been laughing for the last 30 years).I met Glenn by chance at climbing -his initial assessment of me was “Aye, you climb with your hands, you should try using your feet” genius sir!.
I found out about the living organ donor scheme by chance, accidently tuning into a radio station when I meant to start a playlist and I was accepted onto the scheme when a very nice psychiatrist said I was quite mad but said AYE go ahead!
The idea for the night climb of the Old Man of Hoy came about by chance when myself and Glenn lost our sense of time and ended up climbing at night when he was recovering from his fall. Bringing the idea to life has been made possible by Glenn, Buzz, Kiefer, Zoe, Kerris and Sam giving their time and energy. I am very lucky and grateful to know these people and I look forward to hearing Glenn’s violin playing in the night air when we top out the OMOH -AYE
Glenn “Zen” Gordon
Owner operator of Glenn Gordon Mountaineering, climber, mountaineering instructor and enthusiastic violin, guitar, banjo and generally any stringed instrument player.
I have worked with Ray on some fantastic projects since 2012 including a charity climb of the Old Man of Hoy. Over the years we have formed a close friendship which has presented both of us with very unique opportunities.
In January of 2018 I suffered a nasty injury as a result of a winter climbing accident and was told repeatedly by doctors that I would likely have to stop climbing and find a new career. My short reply was along the lines of “AYE! THAT WILL BE RIGHT“. It did not seem like it at the time but this was just another opportunity unfolding as I learned to adapt my climbing techniques and overcome mental barriers.
In Sept 2018 myself and Ray became so engrossed in what was my first significant climb since the accident, that we found ourselves finishing the climb by the light of head torches.This was a first for Ray but he seemed to enjoy it so much that I half-jokingly suggested we try climbing the Old Man of Hoy at night.
The journey from a hospital bed in Jan 2018 to getting ready for the night ascent of the Old Man in Sept 2019 is why this “not so” Oldmansaysaye.
Neil “Buzz” Busby
Owner operator of Climb Caledonia Ireland recently moved to the emerald isle having spent 15 years as head coach at Europes largest indoor climbing arena the Edinburgh Indoor climbing centre and also Team GB climbing coach.I got the opportunity earlier this year to set u my business when as a result of restructuring I was made redundant,some would have seen this as a negative but for me this unexpected and unplanned event presented me with an opportunity to say AYE to a new and exciting phase of my life.
I got involved with Oldmansaysaye when I met Ray in 2017 at the wedding of my good buddy Glenn Gordon,whilst we knew each other in the passing from Ratho this was the first time we really chatted.Ray explained he was recovering from his recent operation and that he had set his sights on climbing El-Capitan an iconic big wall in Yosemite valley ,California as part of a project to raise awareness of the living organ donor scheme, and wondered if I would be interested in helping improve his skills and training techniques.
I have always wanted to climb El-Cap and so this was a very easy "AYE”.
Over the last year and a half Ray and I worked together to improve on his technique and overall climbing grades.Earlier this year Glenn and Ray asked if I would like to come up to Orkney and have a go at climbing the Old Man of Hoy at “NIGHT”-and yes that’s was another AYE.
So hopefully this explains why this not so old man says AYE ,also Ray has a good a good Blues collection and I don’t have any of his vinyl !
As a Palaeolithic Archaeologist I spend a lot of time thinking about and playing with rocks. To me, a connection with stones, rocks and boulders is part of the essence of being human.
There’s something very intuitive and freeing about clambering around on rocks and it’s something that instantly connected with me in a way no other sport or physical activity ever had.
I cannot thank the Old Man team for including me in their adventure, it means a lot for me to do this with my own Old man. We started climbing together in 2013 during a very difficult time in my life.
My physical and mental health was at its lowest it had ever been. Through climbing I was able to tackle these issues whilst me and my dads relationship strengthened and I reframed my relationship with myself.
This project represents the first, of I’m sure many, summits in my own journey as well as a chance to use climbing to try and help others as much as it’s helped me. Despite my trepidation, I know that this climb is far easier than the struggle, physical and mental, that people awaiting a transplant go through. Doing something like the old man of Hoy requires the incredibly potent cooperation that defines humanity but donating an organ to someone in need is the height of the altruism that makes our species so special.
If the Old Man Says Aye then I most certainly say AYE